Football: Croatia pledges to tackle hooliganism

Croatian officials on Monday pledged to tackle hooliganism with UEFA's help following a recent strong warning of the European football's ruling body over the issue.

"Our joint goal is that our fans become our best ambassadors what our footballers already are, wherever the matches are played," Education Minister Zeljko Jovanovic told journalists after meeting an UEFA delegation.

"We also want to prevent illegal betting, match fixing, which is also UEFA's goal," he stressed.

After an evaluation of the situation, to be carried out jointly with UEFA, concrete measures to eradicate violence from stadiums will be made, said Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic.

UEFA was ready to "to cooperate, advise and help in preventing violence at stadiums", its official Frantisek Laurinec stressed.

The meeting came to ease tensions between the two sides after the government earlier this month slammed UEFA president Michel Platini's letter to Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic as "diplomatically inappropriate".

Platini last month urged Croatia and Serbia to tackle hooliganism ahead of the high-risk World Cup qualifier on Friday between the former foes.

In a bid to avoid trouble between rival fans, Croatian and Serbian football federations decided to ban away supporters from attending the match.

Platini has repeatedly warned two former Yugoslav republics that if they do not root out violence among football supporters they risk being excluded from international competitions.

UEFA has fined both the Serbian and Croatian federations on several occasions for violence and racist behaviour of hardcore football fans.